Armand de Brignac
Armand de Brignac, casually known as “Ace of Spades,” is quite possibly the most coveted Champagne on the market right now, due in part to its high price tag and the fact that Jay-Z owns the company. But this Champagne is no gimmick: It’s the real deal, and if you have the opportunity to sample some, we highly suggest you do.
The Champagne is actually produced by 11th generation Champagne growers, the Cattier family, who have been producing Champagne for more than 250 years in the region’s Chigny-les-Roses village. The father-son team of Jean-Jacques and Alexandre Cattier produce several varieties of Champagne under the Cattier name, but three vintages of the “tête de cuvée,” the first and freshest portion of the very first grape pressing, are all that goes into Armand de Brignac. The first bottles of Armand de Brignac’s flagship Gold Brut were released in 2006, and their most recent release, demi sec, was released at the end of last year. Other cuvées include rosé, blanc de blancs (made with 100 percent chardonnay), and their rarest offering, blanc de noirs (made with 100 percent pinot noir). The other cuvées are made with the classic trio of pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay; the rosé is colored with a small amount of still red wine. All bottles are made of metallized glass and finished with a label made of French pewter. From start to finish, the Champagne is handled by a team of just 14 people, and bottles range from $299 to upward of $400.
So, how does it taste? We were fortunate enough to sample the Gold Brut and rosé, and, man, this stuff is good. They’re both fresh, crisp, and floral, and the rosé has plenty of berry notes, including cherry and strawberry, making it perfect for a summer afternoon. The Gold Brut has the brioche character that you look for in a great Champagne, and they both have a lot of depth and a long finish.
In short: Ace of Spades is no joke.